Thursday, 22 November 2007

1 in 6?

Sometimes I wonder: where are all the other one in six couples who have difficulty in conceiving? When everyone around you seems to be reproducing effortlessly, it's difficult not to think that you're the only ones going through all this. But then last night, we went to an information evening hosted by the unit where we're going for treatment, and suddenly we were surrounded by other infertiles - a whole lecture theatre full of them, in fact. Like us, all of the other couples there were pinning their hopes and dreams on the three figures who were there to talk us through a typical IVF cycle. My god, the air in that room was thick and heavy with heartbreak.

The lights went down, and the entire procedure flashed before my eyes in a series of bullet points and diagrams. And I had to stop myself from holding up my hand and saying, 'Excuse me, but I think there's been a mistake. I don't really think we're supposed to be here. This isn't the way we'd planned on conceiving a child.'

Thursday, 15 November 2007


We are starting to gear up for IVF next month. Last week, I went to have my Day 3 bloodwork done. This week, it was Mr H's turn. On Tuesday, he went off to the clinic for an up to date semen analysis. He tells me that they operate a queueing system akin to the deli counter at the supermarket - i.e. you turn up & take a number. When that number is called, you are then ushered into a small room & expected to do the business.

Not for the first time, I am struck by how very different male sexuality is to female sexuality!

Friday, 9 November 2007

The next step?

AF arrived bang on time this month, and so I took a deep breath and phoned the clinic to confirm that we would be proceeding with a cycle of IVF/ICSI next month (my first appointment will be on Day 21 of my December cycle, so a few days before Christmas).

I'm finding it difficult to see this as the next step in our journey through infertility - somehow it seems more like the end of something: as though we're now officially giving up on the idea that we might manage to conceive without medical assistance. It feels like we're admitting that we've failed, and that we can't do what seemingly everyone else out there can.

Infertility has taught me a great deal about my body; I have learnt to respect its rhythms and chart its cycles. Now I feel that I am going to have to give up control of that body, and hand it over to the medical profession. It is hard to accept that conceiving a child, which should be a private and intimate act between me and my husband, is going to be such an intensely medicalised and public process.

Perhaps as the IVF draws closer, I will be able to cling on to the feeling that at least we are actually doing something that will take us closer to our dream of having a baby. At the moment though, it feels more like we've come to the end of a particular road.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

A blogging hiatus

When I started this blog, I was thinking a lot about infertility, and wanted to create a space where I could explore those feelings. But then I realised that, slowly and insidiously, it was taking over my life. So much of my energy was going into trying, and wishing, and hoping for a baby. My sense of self was becoming more and more bound up with my failure to conceive.

And so I decided to take a break from it all - the charting, the endless monthly cycles of hope and disappointment. I tried to push it to the back of my mind, and get on with other things - teaching and writing. I decided to stop Trying, and have sex for recreational, rather than purely procreational, purposes. Maybe other people were right - if I could relax a little more, it might 'just happen.'

But then I realised that it doesn't work like that. Once infertility has you in its clutches, it doesn't just let you go. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of not thinking about it, but then it crept up on me in the supermarket. In the queue for the checkout, a baby girl looked at me and smiled, and suddenly the grief, the anger and the futility of it all hit me again, square in the guts. And that's when I realised - this isn't going to go away.